TORONTO - Three per cent of COVID-19 tests performed in Ontario over the last day came back positive, the province’s associate chief medical officer said Wednesday, calling the rate a “worrisome” one.
The per cent positivity rate increased from the previous day’s 2.6 per cent, according to provincial data, as Ontario recorded 721 new COVID-19 cases out of roughly 32,200 tests.
Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, said the seven-day average is 2.2 per cent positivity, but she noted even that is increasing slightly.
“Three per cent is worrisome,” she said of the latest daily rate. “It may reflect that less tests were done ... however it also indicates that we see transmission in the community at this point, and that’s no surprise.”
Yaffe said the per cent of positive results seen in testing at pharmacies, which is offered to certain asymptomatic individuals, is also starting to go up slightly.
She said per cent positivity is only one of the metrics public health officials examine - albeit an important one - when considering whether to change guidelines and measures related to the pandemic.
Others include the case rate per 100 population and the effective reproduction number, which represents how many people, on average, each positive case will infect.
Yaffe said the provincial health team will meet later this week to review data from all public health units in the province and determine whether changes to current restrictions are necessary.
The numbers reported Wednesday bring the provincial total to 61,413 cases of COVID-19, which includes 3,017 deaths and 52,512 resolved cases. No new deaths were reported.
The bulk of the new cases are among those under the age of 60.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said the new cases include 270 in Toronto, 170 in Peel Region and 79 in York Region.